When there’s quite a bit of work to be done, and current employees are maxed regarding their time and energy, it’s time for more hands on deck. That could come by way of full- or part-time long-term talent joining the team, or through the strategic addition of an intern workforce. Although the latter may pique a company’s interest given the smaller hit to the bottom line, intern relationships don’t work as they are intended – for the organization or the intern – if you are only focused on cost-effective labor.
Now, more than ever the intern marketplace is saturated with qualified, hard-working students and recent grads, ready to put in the (paid) hours to gain real-world experience. The traditional internship offers a way for employers to test out the skills of potential long-term hires over an extended period, which can prove beneficial to an organization in the long run. But, if you think it’s time for an intern, it’s necessary to check your intentions, first. Here’s why you may not deserve one.
You Think They’re Only Good for Administrative Work
Interns can be high-quality hires, even for the short-term, but that is only feasible when employers are of the right mindset. If you’re thinking about dumping administrative tasks on the intern’s plate that equates to little more than busy work, you’re missing the point. The right interns offer a new perspective on a company’s operations, goals, and projects, so give them work that could benefit from that fresh eye. Think about projects that would benefit the business in the long-run before hiring an intern, and assign the associated tasks to interns who have the proven skillset to get the job done right.
You Don’t Have Time to Mentor
Part of the intern relationship involves mentoring and leadership, and if you don’t have time to take on that responsibility for your new hires, you’re doing them and the company a disservice. Just like full-time new hires, interns need clear direction on how they can best serve the organization with their education and skills. Throwing them into the mix without providing that guidance will leave them disheartened from the start, and will mean the company won’t get the level of productivity it wants. Plan to take time to truly lead your new interns down the path of success – whatever that means for your business.
You Aren’t Thinking Past Today
If you’re simply looking to fill space in the office for a brief period in an inexpensive way, you aren’t ready for an intern. You must have a long-term perspective when it comes to hiring interns, as they can be the best choice for full-time job openings in the future. During their internships, you’ll get to know their work ethic well, along with the strengths they add to the team. When treated well, interns become brand ambassadors who can have a serious positive impact for the company. If they’re a good fit, they should be your first go-to for filling vacancies.
Remember, interns shouldn’t be viewed as cheap labor, but instead, future permanent employees who will help your company make progress toward its objectives.
Photo Courtesy of: Matthew Hurst